Feb 272012

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on consent in sex, terminating online versus in-person acquaintances, compensating the victims of your negligence, the meaning of faith, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 26 February 2012

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Podcast Segments: 26 February 2012

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.


My News of the Week: This week, Trey was visiting, but mostly I’ve ben sick. I’m also working on moving NoodleFood to Philosophy in Action – and from Blogger to WordPress.

Question 1: Consent in Sex

Question: What constitutes consent in sex? Can a person give tacit consent by his or her actions? Is explicit consent required for some sex acts? Once consent has been given, when and how can a person withdraw that consent? Does the legal perspective on these questions differ from the moral perspective?

My Answer, In Brief: To consent to sex requires communicating a willingness engaging in the act, whether by word or deed. Consent can be withdrawn at any point, and for the other person to ignore that constitutes sexual assault.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Terminating Online Versus In-Person Acquaintances

Question: What’s the proper threshold for cutting off a digital versus in-person acquaintance? Morally, when it is wrong to end your friendly interactions with an in-person acquaintance? And when is it wrong not to do so? Does the answer differ for a digital acquaintance – meaning, for example, someone that you know only via Facebook?

My Answer, In Brief: No hard and fast rules can apply here, simply because the nature of online and in-person relationships varies so much. However, every person ought to make sure that his relationships, whether primarily online, in-person, or a mixture of both, serve his purposes well.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Compensating the Victims of Your Negligence

Question: What should you do for a person that you injured in a car accident that was your fault? Does a person have moral obligations – over and above any legal obligations – to the victim, since the accident was due to your own carelessness or mistake?

My Answer, In Brief: If you’ve harmed someone by your negligence, your moral and legal obligation is to make them whole by compensating them for the harm you’ve caused.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 4: The Meaning of Faith

Question: Is it wrong to use “faith” to mean “trust and confidence in a person”? Some people talk about having “faith” in their friends or in themselves – and by that, they mean that they trust and have confidence in those people. Is it wrong to use “faith” in that way? In other words, blind faith is wrong, but is all faith blind faith?

My Answer, In Brief: The term “faith,” when used to refer to trust or confidence in a person, suggests that such is not justified or warranted based on facts. That’s why I avoid the term, and I suggest that others do the same. However, a person is not corrupt for using it.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Is a person rationally considered “male” or “female” based upon: (a) their genitals or other anatomical parts of their body which are involved in sexual reproduction, or (b) or their emotional and psychological wishes to be a man or a woman?Should states have referendums on gay marriage?
  • Has social media or technology changed how people engage each other for sex?
  • Has social media or technology changed how people engage each other for sex?
  • Should states have referendums on gay marriage?

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  • Start Time: 1:07:59
  • Duration: 6:00
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.


Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:13:59

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Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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